Techniques Photoshop Blending Options

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Ever wished for a visual "cheat sheet" of blending options and their effects in Photoshop?

Wanna save the time of having to click through all the effects to find the right combination? Look no further! At the end of this post, you can download a handy PDF of these images that will show you an at-a-glance reference of blending options and their effects.

Enjoy!

 

For the sake of this example we'll be using to different images to clearly illustrate the blending options!

 

Image 1: A simple tree!

Tree

 

Image 2: A Hot Air Balloon.

Balloon

One by one, we will go through each blending option. Without moving the images or changing the placement. Some results may be hideous, but the purpose of this exercise is to provide you with a visual example of each of the blending options located in this palette.

 

Blending Options

 

Darken: Darkens the areas that overlap.

Multiply

 

Multiply: Combines the hues of the overlapping images.

Multiply

 

 

Color Burn: Accentuates the brighter areas of the photos.

Color Burn

 

Linear Burn: Accentuates and darkens the lighter areas.

 

Darker Color: Shows the darkest common color in both images.

Darker Color

 

Lighten: Overlaying parts of the images are lightened and washed-out.

Lighten

Screen: Similar to the "Lighten" mode, but creates a brighter sheen.

Screen

 

Color Dodge: Still brighter than the "Screen" mode.

Color Dodge

 

Lindear Dodge: Washed out further.

Linear Dodge

 

Lighter Color: Removes the darker images within the composition.

Lighter Color

 

Overlay: The top image is lightly displayed over the image.

Overlay

 

Soft Light: Similar to the "Overlay" mode except lighter.

Soft Light

 

Hard Light: Shows the drastic difference between the top layer images.

Hard Light

 

Vivid LIght: Colors are show in their brightest hues.

Vivid Light

 

Linear Light: Brighter lights colors on the top layer.

Linear Light

 

Pin Light: Removes and combines similiar colors between the layers.

Pin Light

 

 

Hard Mix: Colors are combined and then exagerated.

Hard Mix

 

 

Difference: Great for creating mystifying night scenes.

Difference

 

Exclusion: The inverse of the difference mode.

Exclusion

 

Hue: Breaks the composition down into basic colors.

Hue

 

Saturation: Determines the vividness of the composition's colors.

Saturation

 

Color: Changes color below the top image to reflect the image's hues.

Color

 

Luminosity: Creates a dark, yet vibrant color layer on the bottom image.

Luminosity

 

If you want a downloadable copy of this cheat sheet, click here.

 

So how realistic are these blending options? Well, here's a recent project I did for an upcoming book that will be released in January. You may notice the iStockWatermarks on this copy as I haven't yet converted this to finished product with the purchased images. However, in this piece alone, I have 10 images and I have utilized a variety of blending options in the piece.

 

Effusion Cover

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